Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a heartfelt greeting Tuesday on the occasion of Ethiopian Immigrant Day, calling the story of the community's desire to return to Jerusalem "the essence of our people's dreams and prayers."
"Decades ago, Ethiopian Jews left their homes in the dead of night. They went to the Land of Israel. They went to Jerusalem. They organized secretly, in small groups, left all their belongings behind and began their own exodus to Jerusalem," he said. "They marched for long weeks, sometimes longer, with babies on their backs, children holding their grandparents' hands. They went north, toward the horizon, in the direction of the Land of Israel. They suffered from hunger. They were robbed and attacked. Four thousand members of the community were unable to realize their dream and were buried along the way to the Land of the Patriarchs."
Netanyahu called it "a marvelous story" that expresses the "longing of generations of Jews."